Shorter Wong had the best and worst job in existence-- while he gets to see his best friend hilariously lamenting over how the grimy soy sauce bottles reminded him of the softness of Eiji’s dark hair, he wanted to pull out his own hair whenever Ash disastrously failed to ask his crush out.
And he’s already bald dammit.
“He's so kind and wholesome and adorable and I'm just me. ”
“Wholesome huh,” Shorter couldn’t help but fiddle with his phone, one that had photographic evidence of a topless Eiji maniacally fighting off two racoons and one Yut Lung with a single pool noodle. But what he said didn’t matter, because Ash will always think that the sun shines out of Eiji Okumura’s ass, screaming pool-noodle-fighter or not.
Lovesick pining Ash was an absolute trip y’all.
Shorter was willing to bet all ten whole dollars in his wallet that-- from the way Ash was staring so intensely at the inky blackness of his restaurant’s soy sauce bottle-- he was now thinking about Eiji’s large doe eyes.
“Ugh he’s so good? How is he? Who is he? Him.” This bloody fool actually-- honest to God-- whined like a five year old, all the while glaring at the bottle he was shaking, as if it had the answers as to why his smart ass was such a dumbass when it came to one whole Eiji Okumura.
Shorter let out a sigh, then sipped on the can of bepsi in his hand, eyebrows raised. “Did you mean-- why is Eiji Okumura?”
“He!” he squeaked fiercely while nodding, as if that was a proper reply. His English was clearly failing him. In his mind, Shorter marked today as the day Ash had finally lost his mind over his childhood crush. It’s been a long time coming-- nineteen whole fucking years coming.
Yeah. Everybody and their grandma has heard the rumour of how Ash had only really kicked in the womb for two people-- his elder step brother Griff, and the tiny toddler of their Japanese neighbour. Of course, his biological mother ran off before they could really confirm it.
But looking at the way Ash and Eiji interacted? The way they kept in contact during all those years the Okumuras moved back to Japan? The way Eiji came running back into Ash’s embrace when he decided to do international study?
Even a cynic would have started believing in soulmates. Yeah-- they were that kind of couple.
Or not-couple, until Ash worked out how to use all that bravado and wit he had when challenging authority, to finally ask that one question Eiji would love to hear.
“Ash. Ash, look at me bud,” Shorter lowered his sunglasses, signalling that he was going to announce something important. Important with a big capital letter “I”.
“You know you were one of the main reasons why the boy flew halfway across the world to study in New York right? Out of all the places he could go to, he chose somewhere he could be with your punkass. Just. Ask. Him. out.”
It should have been a shining moment, the best friend providing enlightenment, but the rude bastard ignored him and just shook the sauce bottle harder. The old grandpa sitting at the nearby table was even starting to inspect his own sauce bottle because of how much Ash was mentally lamenting to it.
Geez, okay. Time for damage control. Shorter pointed at the sauce bottle.
“Hey, loverboy, mind if I take this?” Ash looked at him from the top of the bottle’s red cap in question, brows furrowed as Shorter picked the condiment from his hands anyway.
“Okay Mr.Genius,” he placed the bottle back onto the oily surface of their booth table, the glass clinking. “Pretend this is Eiji. And ask him out.”
Ash blinked owlishly. Once, twice, and then he took in his own deep breath.
“You-” Shorter watched as Ash whispered, gingerly picking up the bottle with eyes impossibly fond. “You are the best thing that has ever happened to me.”
Now, that would have been incredibly nice and romantic, if Shorter didn’t remember that he was talking to a bloody soy sauce bottle.
He also noticed the grandpa next to them slowly getting up and walking towards the counter. Shorter could even faintly hear him ask his sister the brand of soy sauce they use for their establishment, and how he could procure one.
He’s got a lot of explaining to do later, but first-- his best friend and the case of the Eiji.
“Alright I’ve had enough my dude, we goin’ to Eiji’s,” he then chucked his can of bepsi into the corner bin with finality, shouting out a loud “yesss” when he heard the satisfying thunk of the can hitting the metal container. Nadia was sure to scold him later though.
“That’s the worst fucking idea I’ve ever heard,” Ash blanched while putting the soy sauce bottle now back in its rightful place, away from lovesick hands. “Even worse than your tomato and chocolate shake idea.”
“I was thinking out of the box!”
“And I’m busting out of this joint,” Ash scoffed as he shrugged his red hoodie back on, making large strides out of Chang Dai. “Thanks for the lunch-- money’s in the pencil case next to the cash register, since you never ever let me pay you ass.”
“You can’t run from your feelings wonderboy!” his own yellow hoodie was tugged over his head as he made quick steps to catch up with the blonde-
-except Ash suddenly stopped just as he walked through the door, making Shorter bump into his back by accident.
“Hey Ash, why the-”
Oh. Wonderful timing.
Eiji Okumura was standing in all his adorable glory, green puffy coat engulfing him, eyes bright above the bird pattern scarf he adorned. The same scraggly, horribly disfigured bird-patterned scarf that Ash struggled to make for him last Christmas.
Shorter would know. He tried on the bloody thing once, and found that it was scratchy as hell. No person in their right mind would willingly wear it in public. And yet here was Eiji, defying the logics of the universe.
Love was a powerful thing dudes.
“Eiji! Hey!” Shorter immediately went up to him, slinging an arm around the guy’s neck in a friendly greeting. “Whatcha doing around my neck of the woods?”
“Yeah Eiji, remember what you’re here for.”
Ah yes . The other one .
“Yut Lung,” he greeted curtly, letting his arms fall back to his sides, his eyes peering over Eiji’s shoulder to see the snake all bundled up in his own trench coat and designer scarf.
“Wong. Callenreese.” The snake greeting was even more terse, brushing past both Ash and himself into Chang Dai, never once looking back. “I’m getting custard buns. Tell me when you’re done Eiji.”
“Yut Lung wait- oh dammit,” the soft bells signalled the opening of Chang Dai’s main entrance, and then the click of a door shut. Eiji sighed, a gloved finger anxiously scratching at his rosy cheeks.
Shorter was one hundred and fifty percent sure the blush wasn’t all just because of the winter cold.
“Hi Ash,” Eiji was so shy, so blushy. Shorter could just pinch his cheeks, but it would be troublesome if Ash sulked about it so he refrained from doing it.
“Hey Eiji,” Ash was even shyer, and blushier-- the whole I-can’t-believe-Eiji’s-here face™. But Shorter didn’t pinch his cheeks because he valued his dang life.
“I- uh,” Eiji looked down to his fiddling fingers this time, bashful. Meanwhile, Shorter’s inside voice was screaming about how these two clowns were finally gonna actually do the do.
Do things like, talking about feelings and holding hands and stuff. Man would that be a shocker .
“Ash I-” there was definitely an audible gulp from Eiji. “I wanted to tell you something.”
“Yeah? I- um, I wanted to tell you something too!”
Man, the way both of them lit up-- this was why he wore sunglasses. All his friends were too bright sometimes.
“You did?” Eiji’s eyes went wide. “Well, what is it?”
“I-” Ash seemed chill, but Shorter could tell-- by the way his eyes ever subtly darted at him, the way he was blinking something furious-- that his genius brain was shutting down at the presence of The Eiji Okumura. The Big Crush. The Him.
And only Shorter Wong could salvage the situation.
“Ask. Him. Out.” He tried to physically convey the message, hand movements wild behind the boy of Ash’s dreams. Ash at least seemed to process his movements, giving Eiji the softest smile, and then-
“Ducks are quacking. Eiji. Walk fast.”
God dammit! Real fucking smooth Ash Lynx! Shorter couldn’t help but let the warmness of his face dissapointedly meet the coldness of his palms, his entire body and soul cringing as he let out the loudest groan.
At least Ash’s brain started restarting itself and realised that he just gave Eiji an ominous warning instead of asking him out-- he now looked like he wanted the earth to swallow him up whole.
Despite all of this, Eiji still gave a reply. And boy what a reply it was .
“Did you- uh- did want me to go see the ducks at central park?”
“No it’s not you it’s me! I mean-”
“So you want to see the ducks at central park?” Eiji looked at Ash strangely. “I mean we could go together?”
“T-that would be great,” Ash barely managed to get those words out at least.
“Maybe,” Eiji himself took a deep breath. Shorter on the other hand, through the space between his fingers, could see Eiji's fists clenching and unclenching at his sides.
“Maybe we could go on a d-d-”
Come on Okumura . Shorter was hollering in his mind at this point. You can do it.
“Ash, do you wanna go on a d-date with me? See the ducks?”
There was a pregnant pause, and then Ash let out the biggest laugh as he furiously nodded in response.
Also the crowd screamed!
The crowd consisting of one Shorter Wong yelling and one Lee Yut Lung screaming through the glass, with a custard bun stuffed in his cheek. The latter was more excited for Eiji of course. But those were the minor details.
The major detail was that Ash and Eiji finally decided to get the ball on their relationship rolling with a date to see ducks of all things.
It’ll be a fun story to tell.